How to Make Pinch Pleat Curtains Using Buckram

These highly decorative headings called pinch pleats are a fantastic way of adding character to regular curtains. Learn how to make pinch pleat curtains using buckram and give your drapes a smart and elegant finish.


how to make pinch pleat curtains using buckram

There are many ways to make pinch pleat effects, including buckram. All you need is to measure the fabric hem and cut a piece of single-sided buckram. Place it sticky side down on the fabric and iron it in place before sewing the curtain.

You can choose from a variety of pleats and different methods to achieve them. However, if you are familiar with curtain pleating, learning how to make pinch pleat curtains should be a challenging way to help you improve your skills. 


Step 1: Prepare the fabric.

Take your curtain and lay it down on your workspace with the right side facing down. Use your hands or a cool iron to smooth out the layers. Working with a completely flat curtain fabric will make it a lot easier. 


Get your measuring tape and pencil. You may start measuring from the bottom of the fabric’s top hem and divide it into four equal parts along the width. Mark the four placements using your pencil and draw a line to connect them. 


Step 3: Add your buckram

Using your single-sided fusible buckram, cut a piece so that it is twenty centimeters longer than the width of each panel. Place it over the line with the sticky side down the fabric. Make sure that ten centimeters are sticking out on either side of the panel.


Hold the protruding strip of buckram, fold each end. The finishing length should be about a half-centimeter in from the fabric panel’s edge. Repeat for all the panels and fold the curtain fabric down from the top to conceal the buckram. 


Step 4: Secure the buckram.

Now that you have folded the fabric, you can use sewing pins to hold it in place. Make sure that you create a neat and straight fold. Conceal the buckram completely before securing the fabric. Iron the fold and tuck in any excess material under the bottom of the buckram. Pin those extra pieces in place. 


Don’t take out your pins even after you have ironed the fabric. You will still need them for this part. Get your needle and thread because we are about to do some stitching!


Use a slip stitch and run it along the bottom part of the fabric concealing the buckram. Don’t push the needle all the way through the facing side of the curtain. Make sure that the thread goes over the back fabric and buckram only. Close the ends by using a ladder stitch.


Step 5: Calculate your pleats.

Determine the pleat sizes and spacing. In this step, you need to know two things: the curtain’s finished width and the curtain panel’s width, which we will use to form the pleats. From there, we can determine the width of your return and leading edge. 


The recommended length for both return and leading edges is eight centimeters, but you can decide if you want bigger or smaller pleats. Subtract the finished curtain width from the panel width. This will help you determine the available fabric to form the pleats.


Count how many pleats you can form from the available fabric and the pleat lengths. Try six pleats for 1.9 to 2.2 fullness ratio and twelve pleats for 1.5 fullness ratio. The resulting pleat size will give you around ten to thirteen centimeters. You can vary the size depending on the number of folds you want to form.


Step 6: Forming pleats

Now that we have the measurements needed, flip your curtain so that the right side is facing up. Mark the pleat placements along the top of the curtain using a pin. Use a vanishing marker to draw a vertical line from each pin to the buckram’s bottom edge. The line will serve as the edge for each pleat.


Remove your pins and pinch the back of each pleat while using the lines as your guide. Run it under your sewing machine to stitch the pleats in place, traveling down the line to the bottom edge of the buckram. 


Step 7: Pinch pleats

Lay your curtain again with the right side up and hold the pleat flaps up. Using your hand or finger, push the center of the pleat flap so that it touches the stitched line at the back. That should give you two pleats to spread outward instead of the initial single pleat. 


Press these two flaps together and pinch the bottom of the buckram or pleat. Run it under a machine again to sew the new pinch pleat in place under the buckram. Go to the top of the original crease and stitch the center pushed down to the back. Do the same for all pleats.


Pinch pleats

I know you might be thinking that curtains already look amazing without any elegant pleating. But sooner or later, you might look for a different aesthetic, and creating graceful folds at the top of the fabric is one sure way to spruce it up. 


For this DIY project, you may need more than basic sewing, cutting, and measuring skills. It is a lengthy procedure but overall, learning how to make pinch pleats using buckram is a fun and challenging feat.